The publication of the Government’s consultation on modernising road racing is a “big step forward” for British Cycling’s Keep Racing on the Road campaign, the sports governing body has said.
The amendments in the consultation, if implemented, would mean a presumption in favour of holding road races. British Cycling sees the changes to the 1960 Cycle Racing on the Highways Regulations as an important step to help grow the sport.
British Cycling’s Policy Director, Martin Gibbs, said:
“The consultation is a big step forward for British Cycling and its 81,000-strong membership. We’ve been pushing this issue up the government’s agenda for some time so this is welcome news and we’re finally going to see this outdated legislation made more fit for purpose. I’d encourage everyone who supports our sport to respond in favour of the proposed amendments.”
British Cycling included the outdated regs in the Government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’: more submissions were received on the 1960 Cycle Racing on the Highways Regulations than any of the other 400 odd regulations put up for review.
Cycle racing on the road is governed by the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Cycle Racing on the Highway Regulations, 1960. Race organisers and cycle clubs find this legislation difficult to deal with because it is overly complex, arbitrary and appears to allow cycle racing only grudgingly, said a statement from British Cycling.
The discretionary nature of the legislation can lead to large disparities in how road races are treated between regions and over time. Police forces also have the ability to impose any further conditions they deem appropriate which can place arbitrary and unreasonable demands on a race organiser meaning that it allows forces that are not supportive of road racing to effectively "condition" racing off the road.
British Cycling has been pushing for the regulations to be amended so that they better reflect modern road conditions, shifting the emphasis from individual Chief Officers’ discretion if an event can be held to one where events can only be rejected on the basis of a risk assessment and lack of appropriate mitigation.
British Cycling will take the lead in producing the associated Code of Practice together with the Department for Transport and the Association of Chief Police Officers. The Code will set the standard to which all road racing events should meet and will make it easier for organisers and the police to assess any risks and provide appropriate mitigation. It will also prevent misunderstandings between organisers and the police by setting out the standards required for a road race.
British Cycling will continue to expand the ‘accredited marshals’ scheme which works to empower volunteer marshals though the use of a legally empowered signs to slow and briefly stop traffic to let a cycle race pass junctions.